QAA benchmark statements for Agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food and consumer sciences (2009)
QAABiosciences Benchmark Statements (2007)
Department of Biological Sciences
Saturday 1st September 2007
To provide a high quality academic and practical programme of study in Food Chain Technology with learning opportunities for students from a variety of backgrounds both in their place of work and through the specialist food production and laboratory facilities at Reaseheath College.
· To provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills that employers in Food Chain Technology industries need, using teaching, learning and assessment strategies that develop professional experience concurrent with academic development.
· To offer flexible delivery modes and study patterns to meet the needs of students from a variety of backgrounds and employment patterns.
· To provide a high quality academic and practical programme of study in Food Chain Technology that remains relevant, valid and responsive to the needs of employers and students, by maintaining and expanding effective partnerships with students, employers, professional bodies and sector skills councils.
· To provide a programme of study in Food Chain Technology that qualifies students for further study at the graduate level on the undergraduate modular framework from University of Chester or other HEIs within the relevant discipline.
· To provide a foundation degree programme that provides students with the academic skills and confidence to engage in further learning throughout their lives.
Have detailed knowledge and critical understanding of the principles of food science and food chain technology. Have knowledge and understanding of the issues that affect the global food industry from raw materials to packed product with emphasis on food safety and quality. Have knowledge of the principal methods of enquiry into the main aspects of food science.
Be able to analyse, synthesise, evaluate, apply and reflect upon information gathered from academic literature, professional organisations, and experiences in the work place, in order to propose solutions to problems in Food Chain Technology contexts.
Practical Skills Be able to deploy academic and practical techniques for the integration of academic knowledge and understanding into effective professional practice in Food Chain Technology contexts.
Transferable Professional Skills Have understanding of the limits of own knowledge, and how this influences analysis and interpretations based on that knowledge. Have skills of self -evaluation to understand own strengths and weaknesses, challenge received opinion, and develop own criteria and judgement. Have key / transferable skills and confidence to undertake further training, develop existing skills, and acquire new competencies that will enable assumption of significant responsibility within the relevant Food Industrial organisations.
Application of Number
Information Literacy and Technology
Improving own learning and performance
Working with others
Be able to communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Be able to use IT to manipulate quantitative and qualitative information to solve defined problems. Be able to work effectively within a team, giving and receiving information and ideas; modifying responses as appropriate. Be able to manage resources for effective learning.
The programme is designed so that academic knowledge and understanding underpin the development of work-related skills and their application in a work-based environment. The curriculum is designed around a programme core of: knowledge, understanding and skills in Food Chain Technology. Each module whether core or optional will draw on the knowledge within the student's own work environment. Each of the 12 modules will focus on the learner's own industry and by completing the programme will achieve a Foundation Degree in Food Chain Technology.
The curriculum is built over two levels of study designed around programme core modules in Food Science and applied research methods, with specialist theoretical and practical skills modules in Food Chain Technology at both levels of study.
The programme core modules at Level 4 are designed to develop essential knowledge and understanding of Food Chain Technology and will allow employees to gain higher levels of technical understanding for the role that they are already working within or aspire to. The Level 5 modules shift to more technically demanding and research-informed study. Skills in the application of academic knowledge to develop professional skills in Food Chain Technology are developed through coursework activities using the work environment at both levels of study. 120 credits will be studied at both Levels 4 and 5.
Work based students may progress onto the Work Based Integrated Studies Programme at the University of Chester. A Level 6 'top up' two year programme to provide a BSc in Food Chain Technology is available. Further "top-up" programmes at other HEIs will also be available. To allow the top up Route to occur students must be counselled that they must have studied the Research Methods module (BI5110) or an alternative would be Experiential Learning (BI5113) to enable them to carry out effective investigative Research in their final year. This will be articulated within the Individual Learning Plan (ILP).
The FdSc in Food Chain Technology is built from FHEQ Intermediate level qualification descriptors and is informed by the Biological Sciences Benchmark Statements and QAA benchmark statements for Agriculture, Forestry, Agricultural science, Food science and Consumer Science.
The University of Chester and Reaseheath College have an on-going partnership governed by the QAA Code of Practice on Collaborative Provision. This new FdSc is built upon our long standing experience of co-delivery of programmes in Food Sciences. It uses the theoretical and applied expertise of Reaseheath staff, which together with the extensive Food production facilities at Reaseheath, allow us to delivery high-quality academic and applied programmes of study.
To complete the Foundation Degree in Food Chain Technology students will register for 12 modules each with a credit value of 20. The students will study 9 core modules and 3 optional modules that reflect their own place of work. Evidence may be gathered from the work place. Credit accumulation is even throughout the length of the course and will be 120 at Level4 and 120 at Level 5. Of the 9 core modules there are six at Level4 and three at Level 5. It must be made clear to learners that they must complete all Level4 modules successfully (subject to the University of Chester rules of compensation) before registering for Level5 modules. The student then selects three additional modules from six at Level 5. Advice should also be given that if students wish to progress to a honours degree they must choose Research Methods (BI5110); an alternative would be Experiential Learning (BI5113).
All candidates must have 3 years related Food technology industrial experience.
Applications are made direct to Reaseheath College. Accreditation of prior learning will be considered in line with University policy.
Applicants may be interviewed. The interview will focus on personal qualities and food industry knowledge and skills in addition to formal academic requirements. Where it is felt that the applicant is not yet ready to undertake the programme of study a ‘return to learn’ course will be advised.
It is clear that mature students, those with at least 3 years experience within a relevant Food Technology related industry, without evidence of formal qualifications as listed below, will be required to demonstrate enthusiasm and aptitude for higher level study, and have the support, in writing, of their managers for linking their education with their work activities. They will be expected to be 'in work' at the start of the programme but if there is an unforeseen life change and the student is between jobs then they must be actively seeking food technology related work.
1. An appropriate BTEC National Diploma achieving a minimum of 150 UCAS points.
2. An appropriate Access to Higher Education Course ‘Certificate of Achievement’.
3. A/S Level: 2 A/S levels one of which must be in an area of Science.
4. A Levels: 1 A Level in an area of science.
5. NVQ Level 3 in an area of Food production
6. Advanced apprenticeship in Food technology and manufacture or equivalent
QAA benchmark statements
Food science and technology is the understanding and application of a range of sciences to satisfy the needs of society for sustainable food security, quality and safety." - statement from QAA Food Science Benchmark.
Principally the Foundation Degree in Food Chain Technology has been structured within the QAA Foundation Degree Qualification; and Agriculture, Forestry, Agricultural Science, Food Science and Consumer Science benchmarks have been used in the development of the programme.
FHEQ Intermediate level descriptors have been used to develop the programme learning outcomes and have informed the development of module learning outcomes.
Biological Sciences Benchmark Statements - although these are intended for bachelor degree programmes, they have been used to inform the academic development of the programme to ensure students may progress seamlessly onto other HEIs or the University of Chester WBIS programme.
Extensive use of the Sector Skills Council Guidance on Foundation Degrees has been taken into account to ensure industrial buy-in of this Foundation Degree.
"Degree programmes in food science and technology are designed to develop the knowledge and skills required by those who are involved in food supply, manufacture and sale and associated regulatory and advisory workers. Graduates with degrees in food science and technology will have an understanding of the characteristics and composition of major food materials, the microbiology, nutritional quality, chemistry, physical properties and eating qualities of food, and the impact of food storage and processing. In particular they will be able to identify and respond to technological and economic challenges encountered in current food chains; evaluate new techniques and, where appropriate, apply them to commercial practice; understand the appropriate legislation; identify and evaluate public concerns on food safety; evaluate the wider consequences of food chain activities and minimise any harmful effects on the environment and on people." - statement from QAA Agriculture Benchmark.
Foundation degrees are intended to offer university education closely linked to employment. The FdSc in Food Chain Technology has been designed for part-time study by people employed in the Food and Beverage industries. All modules have been designed for delivery as blended learning for students in employment. The aims, learning outcomes and content are designed to allow a core emphasis on the development of students’ cognitive, key and professional skills, and the application of academic knowledge and understanding in Food industry work settings.
An agreement/individual learning plan (ILP) or contract will be drawn up between: the student, the employer and the college, in order to ensure early recognition for commitment by all three partners. The learning plan will take into account any learning difficulties that the student may have. (Learning difficulties will be highlighted within the induction period, where literacy, numeracy, IT skills and free writing tests will take place.) It will form part of regular tutorials and reviews and be a check on student progress. Fundamentally, employers/line managers must have early recognition that they will have to allow students time to complete this programme of study. The ILP will be signed by all 3 parties.
A lecturer of Food Science and Technology will act principally as a Foundation degree coach. they will collate results, carry out any additional learning support and be the principal liaison means between the student and the module tutor. They will ensure that all learners are aware of the programme of study, practicals at Reaseheath. The module tutor will be responsible for all learning material and assessment etc connected to the specific module.
Principal methods of learning and teaching
Induction will take place triannually in September, January and April each year. These are 1 day sessions for enrolment/induction/APL evidence/how to study/write reports/VLE system/e-mail/carry out initial assessments/ ILP commencement/meet staff and introduction to the Learning Resources Centre (LRC).
College-based learning is delivered in the form of lectures, food production practicals, laboratory practicals, and workshops for the bulk of subject knowledge and understanding, and to promote the development of academic skills. Practical application of academic knowledge and understanding is fostered through work-based activities at Reaseheath College’s food production facilities. An induction session at the start of each module will allow a focus on skill development and induction to the module.
Blended learning is delivered in the form of learning packages for the bulk of subject knowledge and understanding. The University of Chester Intranet (IBIS) is used as the learning framework, with information on work schemes and links to support materials, and is the platform for communication throughout the programme. E-mail, discussion boards, and telephone contact provide tutor and peer support.
Module workbooks, built around core textbooks and supplemented by additional reading provided electronically, form the main learning materials.
Appropriate managerial support in the workplace assists in the integration of academic knowledge and understanding with practical application (this is an entrance requirement).
Employers will be requested to assign a mentor. Where this is not possible the Foundation Degree course manager or the Facilitator will act as the mentor. Mentoring in the workplace by line managers/technical personnel will be used to aid the learner through parts of the module. for details of the mentoring policy, refer to the document Foundation Degree Mentoring Policy
Note: Students studying through blended learning in the work-place have an obligation to retain a work-placement in order to complete the programme.
Principal delivery strategy
Proposed delivery mode.
Introductory Food Science
Food Preservation and Packaging
Food Materials (generic to industry)
Nutrition and Food Labelling
Lean Manufacturing and Environmental Management
Food Systems - Stabilisation and emulsification
Food Analysis and Laboratory Techniques
Quality Standards, Assurance and Auditing
Option module one
Option module two
Option module three
6 level 1
6 level 2
Note: Each period will start with 1 - 2 day induction.
The assessment strategy has a strong emphasis on "place of work" and where possible APL recognising that some students are already in positions where they can gather evidence for portfolio assessment. APL and APEL will follow current University of Chester guidelines on IBIS. There will be use of formative assessment at the beginning of the course to develop students' academic skills and confidence, thereby encouraging the development of autonomous learning. Summative assessment will be closely linked to the application of academic knowledge and understanding in the workplace. Where it is appropriate, use of the VLE will be engaged.
Emphasis at Level 4 is on coursework elements that promote knowledge and understanding, cognitive and key skills, and the application of academic knowledge and understanding in the work-place, residential schools, VLE and phone/e-mail tutorials. Assessment tasks typically involve multiple choice tests and short-answer questions, essays and structured reports, practical reports, oral presentations, workbooks/learning logs and employer assessment/witness statements.
Level 5 has greater emphasis on the development of cognitive and transferable skills, and use of the academic literature to inform work-related practice. Tasks will include case studies, reviews, portfolios and reports, seminars and project work.
However if a student fails a module overall, s/he will be reassessed in the failed component(s). In addition, any component mark below 20% will be deemed to cause an overall failure even if the average total is 40% or above. Reassessment will normally use the same mode as the original assessment, reassessing those learning outcomes that were not achieved in the failed component(s). Therefore re-assessment will be tutorial led with emphasis on correcting and building upon existing evidence that does not initially meet the learning outcomes.
Graduates of the FdSc Food Chain Technology will have:
· The knowledge, understanding and skills employers in Food Chain Technology industries need, using teaching, learning and assessment strategies that develop professional experience concurrent with academic development.
· A flexible delivery mode and study pattern to meet their needs from a variety of backgrounds and employment patterns.
· High quality academic and practical programme of study in Food Chain Technology that remains relevant, valid and responsive to the needs of employers and students, by maintaining and expanding effective partnerships with students, employers, professional bodies and sector skills councils.
· A programme of study in Food Chain Technology that qualifies students for further study at graduate level on the BSc Hons Food Chain Technology delivered at Reaseheath College and University of Chester.
· A degree programme that provides students with the academic skills and confidence to engage in further learning throughout their lives.
Reaseheath College believes in equality of opportunity for all its students, staff and visitors. The College is committed to promoting equality of opportunity in all its activities. To this end the College will work to ensure that all individuals are able to achieve their full potential and work towards realising their personal goals irrespective of their: Age; Colour; Creed; Ethnic Origin; Gender; Marital Status; Disabilities & impairments; Nationality; Race; Sexual orientation or Religious Belief. This will require the elimination of any unfavourable treatment, unfair disadvantage or discrimination if it exists in any area relating to the College provision for its students and in the employment of its staff.
Reaseheath has long standing links with the University of Chester and will ensure that academic quality, business plans and performance is monitored in regular meetings. To this end a link tutor, Professor Graham Bonwick, has been nominated.
Reaseheath College has significant experience in training students in the workplace. Flexible delivery and assessment has been common place for full cost income, HNC and blended learning routes. The food department’s contacts are widespread across the UK from a broad range of food industries. Current clients vary from SME through multi-national giants like Kellogg’s, Tetra Pak and Heinz. Reaseheath prides itself on its industrial heritage and works with industry to ensure that our courses are modern, relevant and integral to their own business needs. Advances in modern technology through, CD, the web, e-mail and the Internet have meant that a large proportion of the learning could take place in the place of work with support via the phone, e-mail, web and short sharp residential courses. Recent food scares; Food poisoning, BSE, Swine Fever, Salmonella in Chocolate, bird flu and obesity, have all focused attention by government, the public and food companies on the need for safer foods within an ever increasing UK market. There has been significant coverage of the new food labelling system set by the Food Standards agency in competition with that system advocated by the Food and Drink Federation.
There is a tremendous amount of evidence indicating heavy shortages for technically qualified individuals and there is great difficulty in recruiting food scientists/technologists from the traditional student age group,18/19, and for these reasons this proposed Foundation degree will be delivered in/close to the place of work, via IBIS, reserved phone call tutorials and e-mail mixed with a scattering of practical courses where additional tutorials may be held in order that upskilling can occur within existing workforce development.
Reaseheath works closely with its own Sector Skills Council, IMPROVE, and has been selected as the “ Academy Centre for Dairy Technology” within its existing accolade as a Centre of Vocational Excellence in Food Chain Technology. Reaseheath Food Department is the only CoVE for Food within the North West and is recognised as an important supplier of training, trials and development work for the Food Industry.
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